Proud mama

As my kids get older, I’m realizing that there’s a lot more to this whole parenting thing than meets the eye. Sure, parenting babies is tough. Sleepless nights, feeding issues, gross diapers, teething misery…all legitimate challenges. But making sure my children turn into good people with the kind of qualities I like to see in a human being? Man, that’s tough.

My husband and I do our best to instill in our children good manners and the importance of being well-behaved. We (attempt to!) discipline when appropriate without constantly nagging. It’s a fine balance.  Sometimes I feel like I’m always saying “no” or “don’t” so I’ve started trying harder to think about whether or not it’s really necessary before I tell my kids to stop doing something.

All that being said, we got a really nice compliment from one of Littleman’s daycare teachers the other day. Littleman is currently one of the oldest kids at the daycare and will be leaving to start kindergarten in September. At the beginning of the month, several new children joined his class. Apparently, he took one of the new kids, “Jack”, under his wing and has been helping him get adjusted to his new classroom. He’s been showing Jack where things are and sitting with him during activities. He even helped Jack cut his food at lunch when he was struggling one day.

The teacher was very complimentary about how kind and helpful Littleman has been. I’m not gonna lie, I was very proud. As parents, it often feels like our kids don’t listen to anything we say and we rarely get a chance to witness how they act when we aren’t there with them. It was so nice to hear that our child took it upon himself to help another person.

I hope as he grows, he continues to be the kind and loving person that he is today. Because, so far, I’m one proud mama! 

   

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Oh, the injustice!

This morning, for the first time in a long time, Littleman had meltdown on the way to daycare.  I asked him to stay inside the front door with his brother (who has a tendency to try to crawl up the stairs as soon as I turn my back) while I set up the stroller out front.  When I went back inside to get the kids, Littleman started crying because he had wanted to help set up the stroller.  I reminded him that he had helped me by watching his brother and I asked that he help me clip the baby into the stroller.  But, alas, it was too late.  He was wound up and wasn’t going to be distracted from his anger.

He cried the whole way to the daycare.  Then, through his tears, he said, “I’m crying because I wanted to help you with the stroller!” I couldn’t help but smile.  A year ago, when he was an angst-filled three-nager, his meltdowns were intense.  He’d get super mad and cry really hard and, in the end, I sometimes wondered if he even remembered what the whole fuss was about.  Now (at the ripe old age of four) he knows exactly why he is upset and articulates it very clearly.

He calmed himself down by the time we reached the daycare. He helped me collapse and store the stroller, which somewhat made up for the earlier injustice of not being allowed to help set it up in the first place.

Watching all this go down made me realize how much easier parenting Littleman is now that he’s four.  He’s always been a pretty well-behaved kid who is a good listener and likes to help.  But, he is still a kid and we’ve certainly had our ups and down.  Age three was probably the hardest so far – I wrote about it here and here – but we seem to have turned a corner.  Sure, there are still moments like this morning where he gets upset when he doesn’t get what he wants.  But, like today, he gets over it pretty quickly now and he seems to be starting to understand that he can’t always get what he wants (his dad and I have amused ourselves by singing that to him which could have pissed him off but seems to have entertained him instead).

It will be interesting to see what Bo is like as he gets older and starts to show his frustration more.  Will he continue to be an easy-going kid, like he’s been an easy-going baby?  Or will he be stubborn and get easily worked up when he doesn’t get his way?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Saving it for home

My kids aren’t perfect. They are polite and well-behaved a lot of the time, but they also have meltdowns and freak-outs. Thankfully, they’re both really good at holding it together while we’re in public and saving the screams/tears for home.

Last night was the perfect example:

My father-in-law’s partner turned 70. They decided to have a family dinner to celebrate. But not at their house. At a restaurant. And not any old family restaurant, but at a French bistro.

Of course, the mere thought of this outing made me feel a little sick to my stomach. There would be my three-year-old and 4.5-month-old, as well as four other kids aged 4, 5, 6 and 8. Lordy.

Anyway, off we went. The restaurant was small and loud but luckily we had our own section for our party of 16. Baby Bo had been awake for a few hours so fell asleep in the car on the way. Littleman was excited to see his cousins. He happily drank his first ever Shirley Temple (um, delish!) and, although I could tell he was dying to run around, he sat at his seat and ate some of our (very expensive, very French) meals.

Bo woke up only a few minutes after we arrived, meaning he barely slept. I could tell he was exhausted. But, true to form, he smiled for everyone and hung out in his car seat while we ate.

After dinner, Bo started getting fussy. We took turns holding him and walking around until we could escape without looking rude.

As soon as we reached the car, our sweet baby absolutely lost his shit. He’d held it together for so long but boy, was he ever mad!

We’ve had a few similar situations with our older son, where he’s been an absolute angel when we’ve needed him to be and then he’s melted down once we’re home. I have to say, I am quite impressed with their ability to do this. When it’s late, loud and past my bedtime, I usually feel like crying. So the fact that my kids can keep it together in these circumstances is quite amazing. And for that, I am very grateful!